"We need to encourage young chefs to compete"

Alex South

Alex South


The Roux Scholarship hosted a round table discussion with some of the UK hospitality industry’s leading figures, as part of international women's day we find out why the roux scholarship still lacks female entries.

The event held at Caractère in Notting Hill created a dialogue around the knowledge, experiences, and ideas for encouraging more entries from more female chefs, and to achieve more diversity among finalists for the 2023 competition.

Attendees included Peter Avis, General Manager of the award-winning restaurant Galvin at Windows and 10 Degrees Sky Bar; Emily Roux, Owner of Caractère; Michel Roux Jr, Co-chairman of the Roux Scholarship and Chef Patron of Le Gavroche; Rachel Humphrey, Executive Head Chef of Le Gavroche and Roux Scholarship judge; Sally Abé, Consultant chef at London’s Conrad St James; Sabrina Gidda, Chef and culinary consultant; Miranda Quantrill, Curriculum Manager for Hospitality Westminster Kingsway College, Alisha Pereira is Head Banqueting Chef at the Hilton Bankside Hotel; David Glaser, A director of The Waterside Inn and the Roux Scholarship.

Commenting on the discussion Alisha Pereira, said: “The Roux Scholarship is more than just a competition; it is an opportunity. We need to encourage young chefs to compete. It is great to do something to support and celebrate our upcoming culinary talent.”

The Roux Scholarship is committed to encouraging chefs from all backgrounds and demographics to enter.

The first round of judging is done entirely anonymously, so each applicant has an equal chance of qualifying for the regional finals, as they are judged on the quality of the recipe alone.

The Roux Scholarship has only ever had one female winner, Mercy Fenton in 1994, and fewer female regional and national finalists than male.

Discussing the impact of holding a more diverse competition, Sally said: “We should encourage people to compete; that would be empowering and give them confidence. We can draw people in and tell them: we will help you do this.”

A white paper detailing the main points of the discussion and the resulting action plan will be published in time for the competition launch.

The event is among a number of initiatives and changes to the competition intended to widen its appeal and open the incredible opportunities offered by the Roux Scholarship to more chefs.

Peter said: “It is so important that we showcase how much of a fun and exciting and rewarding career females can have in today’s kitchens. We all have a big responsibility to keep changing the perception of working conditions in kitchens today.”

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 24th October 2022

"We need to encourage young chefs to compete"